“Kool Aid” A Suggestion By Walrus.

Anyone who has been hanging around this website for long enough is familiar with our late and much loved founders essay on intellectual honesty and personal honor: “Drinking The Kool Aid”.


This was the standard he lived by. It seems to me that the injunction: “Don’t drink the Kool Aid” should be the motto for this website, if it continues, both in remembrance of Col. Lang and what he stood for and as a pretty good editorial standard to guide all of us. It’s up to the Committee and TTG to decide.

Personally, I think there is a a lot of Kool Aid around at present, gallons of it, in many flavours.

I know there are heartfelt positions being taken over the Russo Ukraine war for example but how much Kool Aid is being offered here?

Is Putin the devil incarnate, directing hordes of slavering Orcs to dismember pure, virginal Ukraine? Kool Aid.

Is American and NATO assistance to Ukraine provided out of the goodness of our hearts? Kool Aid.

Is Hunter Biden and the rest of that family the victim of a Russian and Chinese disinformation campaign? Kool Aid.

Is President Trump a criminal rapist? Kool Aid.

I’ll leave it to you.

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106 Responses to “Kool Aid” A Suggestion By Walrus.

  1. mcohen says:

    With all due respect,surely mean this alternative philosophy


    • walrus says:

      Read the linked essay please.

      • leith says:

        With all due respect to Colonel Lang, we were using the “Drinking-the-KoolAid” metaphor in Nam long before the mass suicide in Jonestown in 1978. Back then the guru dispensing the mind-altering magic sugar water was Defense Secretary Robert McNamara with some assistance by General Westmoreland.

        Anyway that was the viewpoint in my outfit up in I Corps.

        And then later, the “good” Dr Kissinger and his boss drank some in Paris dispensed by Lê Đức Thọ. Or maybe Kissinger and Nixon knew Thọ was bullshitting but signed it anyway.

  2. Jake says:

    My observation that ‘Kool Aid’ came to be served as ‘hopium’ on these pages, as the war in Ukraine developed from an ill understood attempt by Russia to solve the problem of a divided, inherently unstable neighbor, since the 2014 coup, into a full-blown (proxy) war with NATO, made me leave this website, creating an English ‘addendum’ to my own Dutch blog. But reluctantly, since the strength of this website used to be it’s ‘oratorio’ function, and scattered noise from a wide range of soloists, each with his or her own individual wisdom untested and unchallenged, doesn’t improve the musical qualities this world of ours needs.

    Each and every military conflict has ‘technical’ aspects which play a role, but this is not a war against the Taliban, or some rag-tag army equipped with weapons merely acquired to be used in parades, and for ‘posing’. Intelligence, industrial capacity, and political, economic and financial strategy are far more important in this conflict, since Russia never had any intention to conquer all of Ukraine. This was either ill understood, or deliberately misrepresented, with very serious consequences. Bit by bit observers in the West are coming to terms with the fact that NATO’s overall strategy, from 2014 till today, was a terrible failure, and that ‘hopium’ won’t save us from facing the music. Further escalation, bringing NATO military to the party beyond the level of involvement already present, is going to make matters worse. Are we going for broke? Or are we going to cut our losses?

    • Babeltuap says:

      NATO in a lot like the Kool Aid Man. Markets to the poor and ignorant, really good at staining just about anything it touches and more often than not bust through the kitchen wall of countries yelling, “Oh, yeah!”.

      If you are wondering who owns this iconic brand (or any iconic brand) don’t bother guessing anymore; they own everything:

      Berkshire Hathaway 26.53%, Blackrock Inc. 6.23%, Vanguard Group, Inc. 5.60%, State Street Corporation 2.93%.


  3. Fred says:

    The bogtenders are serving up Kool-Aid as there is none to keep them in check. This blog degraded into ISW junior not long after the Russians – by provocation, irredentism, or foolishness – acted in Ukraine. The latter being a former Warsaw Pact nation whose domestic government was corrupt prior and after the collapse of the USSR. It was also never of vital interest to the USA nor any of the original NATO member states. It sure looks like a corrupt conduit for graft for multiple actors. Russia was corrupt before, and is corrupt still; and certainly got shafted by many Western elites while the getting was good in the roaring ’90s. That window of opportunity is closed. But at least the connected people in many countries (including Russia) made a lot of money.

    • Smedley B says:

      Right on, Fred.

      This kool-aid post strikes me as a rhetorical version of Vietnamization. The host seems to be trying to signal that he f’d up without sounding stupid, and that’s hard to do.

      At this point, it is clear that this war is producing the worst strategic defeat for the West since the fall of Constantinople. NATO armies could still march to Moscow, hang Putin, and install a tranny as Czar and it would not change this fact.

      China has won, as they won the Cold War. The global South will not be vassals of GAE, thank God.

      The real enemies in the West are all internal, and have been for over a hundred years. The sooner this is understood, the better it will be.

      The best thing to happen now is for Macron to be overthrown and for NATO and the EU to collapse. This will give the native peoples of the West a chance to re-assert their independence and liquidate the globalists and their slaves in the national security bureaucracy.

      But waiting for anyone in Generation Kool Aid (born from roughly the mid 1930s to the earlys 60s) to see any of this is folly. Their minds were warped by propaganda stunts like the “civil rights” movement and the Eichman show trial, and the subsequent legendarium built around each.

      Even if they could see, they could never admit that they were played for fools. Too much of their identity is bound up in their sense of moral superiority. Better they just go quietly and bankrupt social security on the shuffle board courts while the rest clean up the mess they are leaving.

      But one can — and must — hope…

      • TTG says:

        Smedley B,

        I’m not sure what you’re hoping for beyond the destruction of all there is. Are you you hoping for a world of hippie communes or Branch Davidian compounds? Maybe something more along the lines of Amish communities? At one time that lifestyle was the norm here. I suppose if all these diverse communities would keep to themselves or at least not seek to convert or destroy each other we would eliminate all the great game silliness between nations. Actually we’d eliminate nations themselves. That all sounds like Rousseau’s noble savage. Unfortunately, the noble savage is more myth than reality.

  4. Gordon Reed says:

    The groundwork was laid by the Russian Russian collusion hoax which softened up the public and made Russia and Putin into the epitome of evil and Putin Hitler.

  5. Subject: The Taliban versus opium

    There are many people in America who are opposed to the Taliban.

    As for me, I can see some positives to their policies.

    Notably, their war on poppies (source of opium):


    In April 2022, Taliban supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada decreed that cultivation of the poppy –
    from which opium, the key ingredient for the drug heroin can be extracted –
    was strictly prohibited.
    Anyone violating the ban would have their field destroyed and be penalised according to Sharia law.

    Sounds good to me.

    • TTG says:

      Keith Harbaugh,

      The Taliban managed to wipe out the Afghan opium production capability before we invaded. I’m sure they can do it again, at least in the areas it controls.

    • Wunduk says:

      Sounds to me like a combination of three factors: market manipulation, increased control over water resources and soil preservation measures.

      Taliban jacked up production with a record harvests peaking 2021; resolved (like in 2000) the glut in the market by banning cultivation but not trade in April 2022, which led to prices for raw opium quadrupling. This much satisfied everyone on the Taliban base and prepared economically the ground for a 99% reduction in core constituency areas (Helmand).

      Inventory is estimated approximately one to two year’s worth of raw opium harvests. I remember that four double runs by CAS were required to destroy some of the storage sites back in 2006 after Medusa.

      They now can sit at their leisure on the stock and earn more by selling the two years of record harvest for the next five to ten, farmers can allow soils replenish.

      Pinch in prices will be felt keenly in the Iranian, Chinese, Indian and Russian consumer markets for opiates.

      At the same time production of methamphetamines has taken off.
      See: https://www.alcis.org/post/afghan-meth

      Since 2021 Taliban control the water. Previous choice for poppy was determined by lower need for water compared to other crops. Precipitation was quite good last year and reservoirs no longer share previous quantities with Iran (yes the Mullahs whine about it constantly), so more water is allocated to growing other crops.

      Rotating crops is healthy good practice. There was also a cyclical blight in Helmand, farmers were keen to move to other crops once every five years or so. At previous times lastly the UK-led PRT boasted it as a success of crop substitution, previously a US paid contractor (Chemonics) as the result of a cash for crop grassroots buyback programme.

      In the end looking back over the couple of dace’s, I think any reduction was mostly smart farmers and landowners who decided that the monoculture was doing more bad than good or self-regulating blights (I think 201s was a spectacularly disastrous blight).

      To sum it up, you might end not really liking it. It shows that the supply of opiates and the whole country is controlled by a single cartel which succeeded in getting two of its leading figures (Hajji Bashar Nurzai and Hajji Baghcho) extradited from the US where they served life long sentences. Mexican cartels have some catching up to do!

  6. voislav says:

    On the topic of offensive/counteroffensive, I think we are seeing what modern battlefield looks like, meaning combat between peer adversaries. The rise of cheap and ubiquitous drone surveillance finally allows even low-level troops (i.e. platoon-sized) to direct massed firepower against any sizeable manpower and equipment concentrations. This makes large scale action difficult and attacks are limited to company-sized action and slow grinding away of enemy defenses. This allows time to build up successive lines of defense, we’ve seen this in Bakhmut and we are seeing it now. Ukrainian attacks are slowly grinding through the Russian minefields and initial defense zone, allowing Russians to deploy more mines and occupy defenses as they retreat.

    I don’t see the casualty figures published by either side as credible. The number of combat troops on the frontline on both sides seems to be roughly equal (~200K) and the number of killed claimed by both sides (~250K) would require 700K-1M wounded, which there is no evidence for. Total casualties are probably in the 200-300K range for each side and likely fairly equal since Russians have been mostly on the offensive, but they also had substantial artillery fire superiority along the frontline, anywhere from 3:1 to 10:1. So I don’t think that Russian army will suffer a morale collapse and fold under pressure of the Ukrainian offensive, anymore than Ukrainian army would.

    I don’t see that side is capable of achieving battlefield dominance (Gulf War-style) that would allow large, WWII-style offensive movement. My view is that the frontline may gradually shift one way or the other, but since both armies now have sufficient troop density it’s difficult for either side to substantially change the balance.

    I see the war ending in one of two ways; a ceasefire and frozen conflict roughly along the current line of contact later this year, October/November; or Russia making major advances sometime next year, after they’ve built up their forces and are able to stretch the frontline by invading from the north (Sumy region and from Belarus). I see first outcome much more likely. I don’t think Ukrainian victory is likely because it would require Russian army and/or state to collapse, which I don’t think is credible. If Putin is replaced it will be by someone who is more nationalistic and likely to expand the war rather than make peace.

    • billy roche says:

      If I understood your analysis this is a symmetrical battle field; basically a stalemate. Such w/a negotiated settlement (note I d/n say peace; must be careful w/words)w/b a victory, kinda, for Ukraine. The two can carve up the Donbass and draw a big vertical line down Crimea (north to south). Ukraine can join NATO (might as well right) which will be increased by Finns and Swedes (one wonders if the Austrians will be far behind). Putin can say Russia has driven those NAZI Ukies back and saved Russian speakers in Crimea and Donbass. Ukraine can say it is still here and sovereign. Russia, having burned any friendships in the west (selling gas to the Germans is not a friendship) can turn east to the Turks, Persians, “Stans”, and Chinese and b/c a fully eastern nation. BTW, the latter will give Russia back all the kindness Russia has bestowed on them over the past 300 years. Did Russians living west of Ekaterininberg want this?

      • voislav says:

        Russia has no interest in a settlement or peace or whatever you want to call it. Coming to an agreement and setting the border would, as you say, allow Ukraine to join NATO and EU in the future, however distant. Keeping a frozen conflict, similar to Abkhazia and Ossetia in Georgia, Transdniestria in Moldova, automatically blocks NATO and EU ascension, as both are forbidden from admitting members that do not fully control their international border. Greece managed to wrangle ascension of Cyprus into EU as an exception and the EU leaders have been regretting it ever since.

        I think fighting will slowly die down over the next 6 months as both sides run out of resources. We’ll revert to the situation that existed since 2014, except that the frontlines will be different. Russia will continue with periodic strikes to disrupt Ukrainian ability to produce military equipment and supplies and to keep the country impoverished. As the fighting dies down, I think that allied support for Ukraine will die down as well, there is lack of political will in Europe and the US to continue this level of support for Ukraine.

        • billy roche says:

          I mostly agree except for your statement that there is a lack of will in Europe …
          There is a lack of will in western Europe.

    • alexandar says:

      1 – I don’t trust casualty figures published by both side .
      I not even sure each side knows exactly their KIA figure.
      This war look so much like WW1 that rotten corpses will be found long after the end.

      2 – You say that Russian have been mostly on the offensive.
      Yes, but not on a big scale since june 2022.
      Only limited OPS, (Popasna, Sveredonesk, Soledar, Bahkmut ) with each time an overhelming Arty superioriy, 1/7 to 1/10.
      So I am sure that Ukrainians have had most KIA/WIA than russians.
      More Arty, more ennemy killed.
      It’s just a ” rule of war “.
      Note that I take into account only ukrainians soldiers killed on the front line.
      Add those killed by attacks in the rear and it is probably worse.

      3 -The russians will stop on Dniepro river.
      They have manpower, weapons, armoured and logistics.
      It’s not known in the West but all soviet military factories were never abandonnned or dismantled.
      Just closed.
      And now reopened.
      Russian MIC is working 24/24.

      4 – Not known in the West also is that all these eastern oblasts were russian up to 1922.
      It’s Lenine ( not russian ) who gave them to Ukraine to counter what he called “great russian chauvinism”.
      No change under Stalin ( georgian ), Krutshev ( ukrainian ) and Brejnev ( ukrainian).
      From 1917 to 1982, russians were always a minority inside Politburo and USSR under the thumb of men that were not russians.

      Now russians want these oblasts back in Russia to protect russian people.
      They will not stop before achieving this.

      ( This is only an assessment, nothing to do with ethics.
      I’m a soldier, not a pastor, a priest nor a rabbin )

      • Eliot says:

        “ From 1917 to 1982, russians were always a minority inside Politburo and USSR under the thumb of men that were not russians.”

        That doesn’t get talked about enough in the West. That shift in power also explains why the Soviet Union broke apart when it did.

        – Eliot

  7. al says:

    Those alleging others are drinking too much “Kool Aid”, usually have been drinking a fermented “Kool Aid”.

  8. Wunduk says:

    Re-reading the Colonel’s article, I understand the reference to Kool Aid might also apply to the February 2024 invasion. It appears to have been a decision taken on flawed information. It seems to me likely that it was equally flawed as what prompted the 2003 Coalition’s invasion of Iraq.

  9. Alexandria says:

    This website needs to get back to its original purpose as a Committee of Correspondence open to many divergent viewpoints, as long as proffered with honesty with intelligence. The one-sided, pro-Ukrainian quaffing of anti-Russian Kool-aid that currently characterizes the conversation gets in the way of being able to intelligently evaluate what is happening on the battlefield in the Eastern Ukraine and in the corridors of power in Moscow and the West.

    • TTG says:


      You and others are free to post divergent comments and other guest writers are free to post articles expressing divergent viewpoints. There aren’t that many comments that I don’t post. However, I will not write anything supportive of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the pursuit of bothsidesism. Although I still see Russia’s intervention in Syria as correct and productive, their invasion of Ukraine is wrong on every level I can imagine.

      • Jake says:

        In the end this is not a soccer match, which will benefit from a cheering crowd for either side at the adrenaline-level. But those who lean hard on the PR-angle to avoid bad press spoiling the game, are not doing the Ukrainians any favors. I prefer realism over ‘hopium’-infused ‘assessments’, like the ones which said Russia would be out of ammo and weapons by April last year. The individuals who ‘floated’ that ‘assessment’, to block the ‘Istanbul’-agreement, have a massive amount of Ukrainian blood on their hands.

        And as far as the cause of this disaster is concerned, I’d say the Nuland Regime Change operation and cancellation of democratic rule in 2014 is to blame, followed by the admitted lie of the ‘Minsk Accord’, in order to save time to arm Ukraine for this planned war to take the Donbas and Crimea by force. But none of our individual sentiments will change anything on the battlefield today, and Ukraine is suffering unimaginable losses as it is trying to live up to the demands of their NATO-overlords, who said Ukraine was ready for this offensive. The Ukrainians are being mauled. A poll in Ukraine revealed that eighty percent of the population still present lost someone close to them. Are we going to continue this madness until there are no people left? With the entire country in ruins, ‘landlocked’, and buried in debt to their NATO donors? Cluster ammo, depleted uranium ammo, and they are not even at the first fortified line. Who are these madmen running this ‘show’? When does the ‘hopium’-spell loses its grip on people who took it?

      • English Outsider says:

        Well, TTG, a heartfelt vote of thanks for keeping the site going. And with style.

        I can’t say I’m losing interest in the rights and wrongs of this war. Of course not. But I don’t believe opinions on that will now change and am more interested in what will happen after the war, given that opinions are now set in stone.. I do not think Cold War II will be as comfortable in Europe as the first.

        I’m also getting more and more interested in the first few days of the war. There’s Rudskoy’s brief account –


        Also what information one can pick out from Chirkin’s exhortatory account (PR?) saying, maybe somewhat grumpily, that this was nothing like the total war he’d been trained to fight when he was serving. (“This is a war unfamiliar to us veterans…”) My original link to that no longer works but I found this translation that looks much the same:-


        Also a map of troop dispositions at the start of the SMO (Link also no longer works) showing a real jumble of arrows all over the place that, if it’s accurate, must show small detachments going across the LoC and further up. So they cut into the Kiev forces in many places and very fast.

        I do believe those first few days are the key to the subsequent campaign right up to the present and also may throw a light on the state of preparedness of the small number of Russian regular troops who seem to have been deployed during those days.

        That important because there are several indications that the SMO was started in something of a rush. Something on the other side of the LoC caused the Russians to move more quickly than they were quite prepared to do. Chirkin again – “The main groups North and East, that’s the 22 brigades charged with the honourable duty of drowning Donbass in blood in early March, have been decapitated and deprived of command. We beat them to it by a week or two by launching our own special operation.

        Then there are the Putin speeches and his talk to the air women. They don’t contain much more than that but in his recent talk to the African delegates he did state that just before the SMO he’d asked Kiev to move their forces back.

        There are of course a whole heap of observations on those first few day but regrettably mostly unsourced. So I’m still looking for sources.


        Walrus – I hope you don’t mind my butting in. Odd, but I find myself more and more focusing on those events of early last year.

        I submitted the Colonel’s Kool Aid article to an English site a while back. Think I’ll do so again. That account of how the neocons worked their pitch tells one so much

        Trouble is, I’ve outed myself as a Trump enthusiast, a Brexit supporter, and a dissident on the war. (I’m the only dissident I’ve met on that in England – Germany too for that matter – and I meet quite a few people.) Have also outed myself as a far out eco-freak and a Royalist. So maybe not the best person in the country to draw attention to the Colonel’s penetrating insights!

        • johnf says:

          Good to see you posting again, EO. And thanks for your work on MOA.

          The number of doubters on this war are growing exponentially. Vilnius in particular has been a Jonestown-scale disaster for the true believers.

    • Mark Logan says:


      Nevertheless, labeling such as “Kool Aid” can be a form of dismissal by contempt, or Appeal to the Stone: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_the_stone

      Should be able to do better than that.

      I have a somewhat different view of the metaphor, based on its origin, the Jim Jones incident. It is an example of total abandonment to faith. Btw, there was a recent incident of exactly the same thing in Kenya a few months ago.


      We all must be on constant guard against the misuse of faith. I forget who I am plagiarizing here, but the good side of religion is when it leads to contemplation, the bad is when it is used to provide absolute certainty. It’s a good rule of thumb. Watch out for those who claim to have the absolute truth, who claim they, and only they, have all the right answers and only they can fix all of our problems. They are dispensing Kool Aid, perhaps consuming it themselves.

    • al says:

      Alexandria, Your claim of “…The one-sided, pro-Ukrainian quaffing of anti-Russian Kool-aid that currently characterizes the conversation…” also finds quite a bit of pro-Russian quaffing of anti-Ukraine and anti-NATO Kool-aid conversation on here.

  10. walrus says:

    I think I just read that America is going to send cluster artillery munitions to Ukraine.

    If it’s true, it’s a tragedy for all concerned. It wont change the result and it will punish the survivors including those as yet unborn

    • Fred says:


      On the bright side another generation of do-gooders in Europe can get back on the disarmament bandwagon and maybe follow a celebrity or two like was done with princess Diana and her anti-mine campaign.

      • 7 Foot Tall Midget says:

        And with so many large 5 gallon jugs of Kool Aid being served, the lovely Doctor Jill will not, hopefully, overlook to stock the Whitehouse and Air Force One pantries with fresh packets of Drool Aid.

    • billy roche says:

      I’ve learned there is a big diff b/t approved for sale, sold, sending, sent, and rec’d. Ukraine still has not rec’d all the promised tanks and other modern gear promised by western Europeans and Americans. Announcements are great for national P.R. Ukraine can only count on what they actually recv.

    • al says:

      Ukraine will be dropping those on their own country and will have to live with the consequences should they get the territories back.

      • Mark Logan says:


        They surely are aware of that, and that the increase of efficacy in clusters is marginal. This leads me to suspect this is about being short of ammo. The West’s production capability, for the moment, still lags far behind the current rate of usage, so it may be the bottom of the barrel has come within sight. If it arrives it would be be the culmination point of this offensive.

        Such a shortage could not be discussed publicly, so we are getting the explanations that we are.

        • TTG says:

          Mark Logan,

          Biden said it plainly today on national television. Ukraine is suffering a shortage of artillery ammunition. They need the cluster munitions to continue the counteroffensive. If anything, the arrival of sufficient cluster munitions will prevent a culmination point.

          • Mark Logan says:


            I suppose that means Biden knows the Russians are aware of the shortage. Not good, but the Russians certainly have problems of their own.

          • TTG says:

            Mark Logan,

            It could have been another gaff from the gaff master, but the shortage was already pretty well known.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            Yes. As I have said, the only force being attrited is Ukraine/NATO. Russia has not run out of Ammo as predicted would happen “next month” over a year ago. Ukraine/NATO, on the other hand, are running out right on schedule. + all the destroyed Bradles, Leopards, etc. This “offensive” is the west’s last hoorah and it’s going nowhere.

            We will soon know if the west guzzles more Kool Aide and then desperately flails its way into WW3; or gets sober and accepts defeat.

          • TTG says:

            Eric Newhill,

            Russia is also running low on ammo. The Ukrainians recently captured Iranian 152mm ammo. That also means they advanced far enough to reach Russian artillery positions. The Ukrainians also have far more combat units with more tanks and artillery than when they started the war. Russia has less than when they started. The Russians better get sober and accept defeat.

  11. walrus says:

    Germany, France, Great Britain, Lithuania, Sweden, Norway to name but a few, have all signed the ban on cluster munitions. Ukraine, Russia, America, Poland and others have not. God help us all.

    I remember seeing a friends photo of a cluster sub munition lodged on a tree branch, I think in Croatia(?), some ten years(?) after that war.

    • mcohen says:

      Hi walrus.
      Can I ask you a question.Why do you think a delegation of African leaders went to see Putin a few weeks ago


    • Don Quixote the Last says:

      Grand Slam with bases loaded –
      Maybe even in the bottom of the ninth with two outs … ⬇️

      Smokin’ Joe could land at the NATO conference and say that he talked it over with Dr Jill on the plane and he decided no to cluster bombs. Then he says that Dr Jill reminded him of the beloved late Princess Diana’s frontier breaking campaign to have those awful weapons banned internationally.

      And thus ..

      Simultaneously pulverizes his hated domestic opposition, and gives one to that enemy of every Irishman (such as President Biden) Charlatan Charles the third right straight up the hindquarters. And consequently.. ⬇️

      Pulls ahead in the polls.

      And gets to bring it up all the time in debates, speeches etc “.. but I said no, no, to cluster weapons which brutally and inhumanly maim little children, because unlike Vladimir Putin, unlike Chairmen Xi, I am the President of the United States of America, and we believe in Liberty and Justice for All!”

  12. ked says:

    only one flavor, eh?


    Is Trump the victim of a “Deep State” trying to bring him down? Kool Aid.

  14. elkern says:

    Big Thanks to Walrus for re-posting the link to Col Lang’s “Kool Aid” article! IMO, it should be considered Required Reading for anyone who wants to comment here; more ambitiously, it should be required reading for Civics classes in every High School in America.

    I originally read it fairly soon after Col Lang first published it, and immediately became a dedicated reader/participant in this Committee of Correspondence. I was honored when Col Lang promoted one of my long comments into a new Thread in 2005 (or so).

    I’m something of an Odd Duck here; growing up in a liberal college town, I was very glad to find I was born just too late for the Vietnam Draft, and I never served in the US (or any other) military. By character and choice, I’m more of a Diplomat than a Warrior; I came close to joining the US Foreign Service, but falling in love with my [then future and now ex-] wife distracted me from following through on the final steps.

    Born into an East-Coast WASPy Republican family, my first political experience was collecting signatures for Nelson Rockefeller’s 1968 primary campaign for the GOP Presidential nomination. Watergate alienated me from the GOP, but it drove me away from politics rather than into the Democratic Party.

    Sadly, the Culture War framework that helped Nixon win the Presidency twice has developed into a permanent schism dividing our country. IMO, this is the core of the Kool-Aid problem that infects both sides of the US political “spectrum”.

    Democrats have come to view Republicans as racist, sexist, and fascist. Republicans view Democrats as dirty, perverse, and Communist. Both are partly right, but mostly wrong; but media sources from each side profit by broadcasting the craziest ramblings of the most radical members of the other side, reinforcing the divide.

    Col Lang often referred to Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS), and he was quite right about it. Liberal Democrats really did go nuts about Trump’s election; many Liberal and Progressive blogs & other sources are *still* so focused on Trump’s latest mess that they have lost sight of the real problems we face as a country these days.

    OTOH, this was all preceded by eight years of hair-on-fire Obama Derangement Syndrome for Republicans. Some of that was likely deep-rooted racism – the idea of an intelligent Black man as President was just too much cognitive dissonance. But right-wing media (FOX, etc) fanned the flames whenever they could; millions of Republicans bought [more] guns to protect themselves from imaginary mobs of Black and Brown people [not] rampaging through Rural America.

    In both cases – and for the preceding few decades – both major Parties ran for office on Culture War issues and ignored the deeper problems facing our country: the decline of the Middle Class, and the increasing dominance of the Super-Rich; finding a good place in the coming Multipolar World; and mostly, (re-)building public Infrastructure for this new Century.

    I agree with some analysis and policy prescriptions from each “side” (so I tend to piss off Everybody!).

    I agree that immigration is out of control, but I understand the compassionate aspect of the Liberal position, and I’m disgusted by the mean nativist tone of most Conservatives.

    I consider Anthropogenic Global Warming (leading to regional Climate Change) to be a huge challenge to human civilization; innumerate Liberals often overstate & misdiagnose the problems, but Conservatives have gleefully drunk the Kool Aid mixed for them by well-paid shills of the Fossil Fuel lobby.

    It’s very hard to find sources for info on the war in Ukraine which don’t stink of Kool-Aid. I rarely bother with the huge volume of crap which pops up on my Yahoo or MSN feed; and what little TV news I’ve bothered with always seems to focus more on what some “expert” says is *going to happen* than what has actually happened (IMO, “news” should be about the recent past, not some imagined future). OTOH, Russia certainly does spend time & money pushing propaganda; OTOOH, US/NATO/Ukrainian sources are doing the same.

    But in all cases, there’s a deeper philosophical problem: how can we tell Kool Aid from good Scotch?

    Col Lang use of the phrase refers to the Jim Jones debacle, where hundreds of people willingly drank poison because they blindly believed in their “leader”, *and because everybody in their community* believed, too. Whenever I read comments saying “everybody knows… {xxx}” – whether it’s about Trump, Hunter Biden, or Jean-Luc Picard – that the writer is drunk on Kool Aid.

    So, I guess the conclusion is – don’t depend on your friends’ tastebuds?

    • Don Quixotic the less Toxic says:

      Good questions but in my opinion we’re in a serious gridlocked holding pattern politically almost like the stagnation period of the late Soviet Union with Leonid Ilyich B. I’ll repeat my droll comment to Fred above that we’ve fullout overdosed on Kool Aid and as far as leadership goes are up to our diapers in Drool Aid if I am not mistaken, or at least the very least should have stocked up.

  15. Lars says:

    As I said a long time ago, the reason Russia will continue to lose on the battlefield is foremost due to the size of their economy is dwarfed by the US/EU economy. Then there are the remnants of the Soviet Union that will more than likely impact them for a few more generations. And now you can add a certain criminal warlord who is more of a symptom than anything else.

    Many military observers, who know a lot more than I do, consider cluster ammo to be a major improvement in the type of combat that Ukraine will have to engage in as they continue to dislodge the Russians from their territory.

    A final aspect that will have a negative impact for Russia is that it is a totalitarian state that relies on top down instruction and it appears that the down to top info channel is seriously clogged.

    Other than that, few have any idea what the outcome will be and that includes me, but there is some rather accurate info coming out and it does indicate that Ukraine is doing much better on the battlefield than Russia is and and if that continues, at some time, a tipping point is reached and then the end is probably not far away.

    • Eliot says:


      “ As I said a long time ago, the reason Russia will continue to lose on the battlefield is foremost due to the size of their economy is dwarfed by the US/EU economy.”

      I think our metrics undervalue the size of the Russian economy, Moscow also devalues the Ruble to make their exports more attractive, which compounds this issue.

      The service sector makes up more than 70% of the American economy, we actually have a very small industrial sector, it’s just 18% of our overall economy, and our military production capacity is anemic. In Russia services account for 53%, industry 33%. The Russians can probably manufacture 1,500 tanks a year. The US might be able to manufacture 200 Abrahams by comparison. Making matters worse for the US, is that our defense contractors have supply chains rooted in China, and China is yanking the chain.

      I use the US as my example but it carries across the West, France has limited production capacity, the UK in some cases has none, due to budget cuts, Germany is perhaps the one exception, but their arms industry is not in good shape.

      – Eliot

      • TTG says:


        I know Medvedev claimed Russia will produce 1,500 T-90s this year, but that’s probably the vodka and the hatred speaking. Between new and refurbished tanks, Russia will produce closer to 200 a year. And those refurbished tanks are hardly refurbished. They merely got them running again with older targeting and sighting equipment. We’re in a similar dilemma in that we don’t really produce new Abrams tanks. We take old ones and completely rebuild them. The difference is that our rebuilt tanks have all the latest advances in armor, targeting and sighting equipment and engine technology. That new technology is Western. Unfortunately for Russia, a lot of their technology is also Western.

        South Korea seems to an up and coming arms producer. Poland will host a South Korean tank factory because we can’t supply them with Abrams fast enough.

        • Jimmy_w says:

          Abrams armor gets downgraded before export. That’s major part of the delay in sending Abrams to Ukraine. Plenty of Abrams in storage, but little capacity for downgrading. And industrial mobilization apparently does not include armor downgrade capacity. (Probably not F-16 customization either.)

          Apparently, the bottleneck in Russian tank manufacturing seems to be microchips for the thermal imagers, computers, and other components. Not sure what other potential bottlenecks are, but chips is what they complain about.

  16. Sam says:

    The most potent Koolaid that many are drinking is that there can be no power rivalries and all can come to some modus operandi.

    The reality is that power rivalries exist. Currently Russia, China and US have the most potent militaries – the means to enforce will. Among the 3, the US has unmatched strength. One can argue on the relative strength who is waxing or waning.

    In the US, domestic politics plays a disproportionate role in influencing foreign affairs. Then there’s the 4th branch of government who have been “freelancing” for a considerable amount of time, not only internationally but also domestically. At least since the 70s which the Church committee uncovered.

    Domestic politics can and is routinely influenced. Many powerful influencers both domestic & foreign exist. There’s the whole revolving door foxes running the henhouse aspect too in government. The public can be easily manipulated and they have demonstrated their utter fear response in how they behaved during the covidian era.

    Right and wrong argumentation is largely self-flagellation. Morality is only one factor in human behavior.

    What is.

    • Babeltuap says:

      Those that served with honor and commradery in the US military during Iraq and Afghanistan are all gone. Time does that to a formidable fighting force. It needs to be replaced. It can’t be replaced unfortunately. The leaders are a rotten bags of fish guts.

      The recruiting numbers are way down for this reason. Want to bow down to gays and trans then so be it. Just remember this; your enemies do not do this and want to effin kill you in cold blood. They do not care about feelings. We will learn this lesson the hard way. War is for killing. Nothing more. It has no capacity for feelings getting hurt. Only killing.

  17. VietnamVet says:


    You cannot help but drink the Kool-Aid if your job and salary depend on it — if you are a member of the cult. There is no advancement into upper management unless you believe the propaganda. Long ago, I did not worry too much about a Reduction in Force (RIF) by President Ronald Reagan because corporations needed our government office’s approval to sell their products. This attitude is likely one reason I was an acting manager only a handful of times in my 42 years of service.

    Since then, industry has consolidated into giant global monopolies. With fees for service and revolving door regulatory capture, the state and the corporations have merged into a Blob Empire guided by trade pacts like NAFTA and the European Commission. It will not survive the 2024 election if Donald Trump is the peace candidate, if there is another energy shortage like the 1970s, or if Eastern Europe falls out of NATO to avoid invasion and gain access to cheap Russian energy. Personally, if the USA splits apart, there goes my civil service retirement and survival; just like the 1990s when the Soviet Union fell, the first thing to go were government pensions.

    Everyone and everything are digitalized and tagged now. All that matters is making profit from extortion, war, pandemics, gambling and drugs; not the life, liberty and happiness of the American people. The absolute corruption has permeated the whole world. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a mistake on the level of Imperial Japan attacking Pearl Harbor. The status quo is gone forever. Either there is a tri-polar world, with an armistice, DMZ and the West a pale shadow of the former hegemon, or an apocalypse is almost certain.

    The Fall is gradual till suddenly everything everywhere collapses at once.

  18. walrus says:

    I suggest that the first step to avoid ingesting Kool Aid is to lower the cup and take a good look around. I mean to try and take a step backwards and look at issues in their totality so that we understand the context of what is happening. It is only then that we can see we are being fed poisonous Kool Aid and not wine.

    What is the context of our instigation and support for a Ukraine conflict with Russia? Where do China and OBOR fit in? What about the SCO? What are the economic drivers? Where does Europe fit? What about NATO?

    Who is driving this thing and why?

    Unless we understand these things our policy settings are going to be crap, in other words, not in our best interests.

    My reading of the situation is that we are heading in the wrong direction and our policy is going to come back to bite us. If we are lucky, the damage to ourselves will be purely economic and recoverable. The alternative is nuclear armageddon. The idea that Russia or China is going to implode because of our activities is just fanciful.

    I refer you to the walrus law “Governments achieve the reverse of their stated objectives”.

    – Sanctions have triggered Russian and Chinese economic cooperation as well as the growth of the SCO, BRICS, etc.

    – Hostilities have triggered modernization of the Russian defence forces.


    • Don Key O'Tea the Last says:

      A case in point perhaps, see below.

      Wouldn’t it be exciting if the story isn’t quite as reported and in actuality it’s a devious scheme to profit off of the price fluctuations of the stocks of the various manufacters and industries whose investors are driven into panic by such tales? Of course no one on the side of the virtuous could possibly be involved, no, because that might reflect badly on our noble idealists who also were not involved at all in the 2007-08 financial catastrophe, or the eminently fair and judiciously advanced Iraq War II/Gwot/.. or even a humble laptop.

      “Shot yourself in the foot again while hunting the elusive flying radioactive terrorist snail and underground burrowing creatures collective?”

      Said the censored reporter.

      China Bans Greentech & Semiconductor Metal Exports – P Zeihan:

    • ked says:

      reasonable people can disagree with appeal to Reason. you have (as ever) raised a serious topic & posed important questions. so, a reasoned reaction.

      as to “… look at issues in their totality…” I too am an advocate of what you recommend. for me, that totality includes regional cultural history & an application of Occam’s Razor. the modern powers of the modern players, the economic interests, the global reverberations – all operate in the context of generations of “troubles” between Ukraine & Russia. everyone has gotten into it for a piece of the action & outcomes. the preceding decade of strife displayed the potential for what has taken place. it was predictable. but what was the actual probability? one may see deep, purposeful stratagems, but there is a far more fundamental tale… Vlad was at the peak of his power – certain brilliance in a limited man – so he lit the fuse of war. subsequent has been the spiraling reaction of usual suspects, joining in. history is replete with similar dynamics – the Archduke’s assassination setting all Europe aflame being recent (by Eastern European standards, not America’s). the biggest force; Grand Deep State Operations … or a people yearning to be free, sick of being treated like shit, for a long time, by almost everyone? One of Col Lang’s regular reminders (so much so I think he tired of having to remind us) was that human emotional drives in the form of deep-seated cultural values & experiences is very powerful, not easily quantified & difficult to predict in its specific course. did anyone come close to suggesting on Day 1 that on Day 500 Ukraine was pushing towards the Russian border, that Vlad was having serious domestic issues w/ his private militia & that NATO was growing in size & forces? that’s no Secret Plan… that’s a people’s will regardless of all outside kibitzing. & that’s the way it’s likely to go down, no matter how long, how tragic the losses or the eventual outcome. while we contend, the Ukrainians are way ahead, having bet on liberty in the face of death. no outsider can take credit for their making that call. no outsider is likely to stop it.
      while we critique our policies & face a deadly serious future, the totality is that there is moral clarity in what Ukraine has embarked upon, that we side with their very emotional desire for freedom, & that as security policy goes, the USA has done far worse over the course of the past 6 or 7 decades. why not give strategic virtue a shot – for a change?

  19. John Mearsheimer has written an extremely detailed, extremely pessimistic article about the Ukraine situation
    (there is also a 90-minute video):

    The Darkness Ahead: Where The Ukraine War Is Headed

    Article (2023-06-23):

    Video (2023-05-23):

    Here is part of the article’s conclusion:

    It should be apparent by now that
    the Ukraine war is an enormous disaster
    that is unlikely to end anytime soon and when it does,
    the result will not be a lasting peace.

    Mearsheimer published the article himself at Substack.
    Did the MSM refuse to publish it?
    The only reference to it that I can find in the MSM is an attack on it:
    America’s leading ‘realist’ keeps getting Russia wrong

  20. Quixote Coyote says:

    If this isn’t Kool Aid then you’re looking at the most powerful weapon in the history of the Earth Lands.

    Groundbreaking research transmits energy from space.

    • leith says:

      QC –

      Scientists have been trying to do this for years, not as a weapon but as an alt energy source. I recall an article about it back at least 15 or 20 years ago.

      But you are right, sooner or later it will be weaponized.

  21. Jovan P says:


    Nice effort, but too late. Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, TTG transformed SST into an echo chamber. That’s fair game, Colonel Lang let him do it and he earned it.

    • TTG says:

      Jovan P,

      Turcopolier, not SST, is far from an echo chamber. If I desired an echo chamber, I would delete all dissenting comments. On the contrary, I delete very few. Since the beginning of last year’s Russian invasion of Ukraine, Colonel Lang and I spoke with one voice. We spoke often on the matter and planned our postings. He allowed well expressed dissent as I do. I think I now give commenters more leeway than he did.

      If you remember, we also spoke in one voice about the R+6 and the Russian efforts to prevent Syria from falling into the hands of the jihadis. I still think Russia is doing the right thing there. We were also in consonance back in 2014 and 2015 during that war in Ukraine. We both saw Ukraine as a near failed state which, for a while was firmly in the hands of ultranationalists and neo-nazis. Novorossiya and her leadership at the time was, in comparison, pure and brave. The exploits of Givi and Motorola were inspiring. But as the fighting died down, those leaders were replaced, and often killed, by a new breed of self-serving apparachiki. The dream of Novorossiya descended into a 1930s Soviet hellhole… and Moscow let it happen.

      Colonel Lang and I agreed on many things, but we also disagreed especially on matters of domestic politics. Our disagreements were strong enough for him to boot me off… twice. But we rose above our disagreements as we all should.

      • drifter says:

        I’m hung up on “Turcopolier, not SST.” What is the distinction? I thought they were the same.

      • “I think I now give commenters more leeway than he did.”
        I would agree, and thank you for that.
        Col. Lang could be pretty, well, tyrannical at times, condemning people openly, and even banning them.
        You allow dissent on issues that are evidently near and dear to your heart.
        Which is, IMO, good.

    • elkern says:

      Jovan P –

      Piffle. I have written several Comments explicitly disagreeing with TTG’s assessments of the war in Ukraine, and he has published *all* of them, and responded respectfully to some.

    • billy roche says:

      I understand your POV But. While domestically I disagree w/TTG on about everything, yet he publishes and responds to contrary views (what was that “I disagree with everything you say but will defend to the death your right to say them”.). As to Col. Lang’s banning, it was his website – his. He “only” banned me once, and although it took a few years he relented. I don’t think TTG has banned anyone, yet. It is possible that there are herein, simply more correspondents sympathetic to Ukraine. Most let you know their champion. The contest it is not over. It is now mid July. Can Ukraine hold on through November and what will the western European members of NATO agree to. That is the bottom line isn’t it.

  22. drifter says:

    Col. Lang’s “Drinking the Kool-Aid” provides a compelling perspective on neocon group-think leading up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. But anyone with a good memory will recall that the debates about WMD happened right in front of us. The neocon “cabal” was all over cable TV and in print, asserting that Saddam had ’em or would get ’em if he could. And they were right, at least insofar as Saddam would have got ’em if he could. WMD were a status symbol for Saddam, and he deceived his own military into thinking Iraq possessed operation chemical weapons which would have been a violation of the 1991 ceasefire agreement.

    In early March 2003, the issue being debated was whether Iraq would at some point acquire WMD and use them to intimidate or destroy. But the question was actually two-fold: (1) DID Iraq have WMD (or active programs to develop them), and (2) WOULD Iraq develop WMD if sanctions were lifted. Question (1) was addressed by the US intelligence community (“USIC”), and they performed as they usually perform (with all due respect to Col. Lang). Question (2) was addressed by… everybody.

    The first limitation of “Drinking the Kool-Aid” is that it doesn’t take account of this actual context in which the Iraq war decision was made. Even in the public debate, extant WMDs were only half of the equation. Equally important were “mushroom clouds” possibly appearing over American cities and tourist spots resulting from future WMD programs oozing out of Saddam’s hatred of us. These chimerical mushroom clouds are nowhere mentioned in “Drinking the Kool-Aid”, but they were hugely important in the invasion decision.

    The second limitation of “Drinking the Kool-Aid” is that it supposes input from seasoned intelligence officers with the right expertise would have enabled decision-makers to make a better decision. Maybe. Maybe if staff could have interacted with Chalabi’s sources, they could have convinced Perle et al. that Chalabi was FOS. Maybe. Col. Lang doesn’t offer any proof of this. He comes across as a sort of shop steward.

    The most important (third) limitation of “Drinking the Kool-Aid” is that it fails to seriously take account of the actual “conceit” that underlay the invasion: the American belief that if the Iraqi people were released from the bondage of tyranny by American arms, they would embrace Western-style democracy. So why is this important? Because it was the essential rationale for the invasion, and USIC reinforced this idea. If decision-makers could have been dissuaded from this conceit, they might have chosen limited aims for the military operation, or perhaps have decided against invasion altogether.

  23. Kim Sky says:

    Mearsheimer is a good educator!

    I absolutely hate listening to his tough-guy, pro peer-competitor b.s. !!! I’m tough, this is proof I’m not a dreaded pacifist stand.

    He believes Russia is going to win… humph.

    I cannot help but think of Iraq, we won hip, hip. Then things really and truly and much more devastatingly FALL APART.

    More & more mercenaries, war, terrorism, all the weapons to that region, Ukraine helped to turn its country, countryside into hell, I think ethnic-nationalism is going to emerge as THE new wave of humanity!

    • ked says:

      Elvis C. made a hit out of the question … seven years after Pete had already answered it.
      “As I walk through this wicked world
      Searchin’ for light in the darkness of insanity
      I ask myself, “Is all hope lost?
      Is there only pain and hatred and misery?”
      And each time I feel like this inside
      There’s one thing I wanna know
      What’s so funny ’bout peace, love and understanding?”

      “meet the new boss, same as the old boss…”

  24. Kim Sky says:


    I love this site, it has been a place that helps me think, to get away from the insanity!

    Your site was down for a couple of days or more and I worried that you’d shut down, which would be awful for me.

    ALSO, I just want to say THANK YOU VERY VERY MUCH.

  25. jim ticehurst.. says:

    Pat Langs “Kool Aid”……What a Powerful Exposure Pat Lang Made Public…No One of His Stature Ever Came Close To Calling Out the Lies of the Political/Industrial Cartel..That Formed Around The Bush White House Then….The “We Dont Do Regime Change” People…The Public Liars…Even to the U.N.
    Shameless ..Disgraceful Conduct…I could see the Truth in Everthing Pat Lang Exposed
    Right After 9/11 …..And Letting Bin Laden Slither away in Afghanistan..over to Pakistan… Connie Rice…Albright..Powell…All of Them…All the Way to Panama ..and other places where We “Dont Do Regime Change…” And If We Do….Hilly…At This Point…What Difference does An Ambassador Make”…???
    ..No One Will ever Equal What Lang did…A Giant Role Model….in the Arena of
    Public Service..Intelligence…Integrity…He Changed My Life..My Focus..My Desire
    to Always Research and Know More…No one Has ever equaled Him..Show Me your
    Credintals..Your Publications…Your “Kool Aid”…Yes..He Was Cranky..Me Too.80+
    This is a Whole New Matter Now..The New Drink is Toxic Soup…So Hot Its Changed The World…The Oceon….The Truth…Now its a Product Far Beyond what was Started aftyer 9/11…Its Musky and Zucker Schnapps…Pat Knew.. Its Now AI+D… ++13

  26. mcohen says:

    If the Russians are falling back from trench line to trench line then cluster bombs in the trenches is the answer.
    On the other hand spreading them on farmland is disastrous
    Cutting off wheat exports altogether will produce a famine and lead to serious unrest in many countries
    No noodles and no bread.That is the real problem.

  27. Sam says:

    I’m surprised the covidian Koolaid hasn’t received as much attention. Walrus is a good example of someone that drank copious amounts of that and even cheered the authoritarianism in Australia and NZ.

    Yeah, so many were rabid in their insistence that any skepticism of the covidian policies was “disinformation” and demanded censorship and even the forcible restrictions on movement and even the forcible rejection of bodily autonomy with a bioengineered product that didn’t prevent infection or transmission and even caused injuries in some.
    Let’s never forget who were the covidians. They are the antithesis of free societies that ostensibly is the founding principle of the United States.

    • walrus says:

      Sam, nobody cares. I am now on about shot #5 of Covid stuff, I had it with my flu vaccination and before that my pneumonia shot and before that my Q fever vaccination(working with cattle).
      Last time I checked I still have the correct number of appendages…..

      Then there are the four pills I have to take every day. My wife is on cancer drugs and various cocktails as well.

      According to the naturopaths and greens I should be dead b y now…..

      • walrus says:

        …..and I forgot Hep A……

        • leith says:

          Me too. Plus years of US mil vaxing for jungle deployments. Some with that damnable air-pressure injector that DoD finally banned because of splash back of biofluids on the nozzle.

          But so far I’ve avoided the Shingles Vax my bride was pressing me to get.

        • Fred says:

          My barber let on today that a year after the second vax her husband is having side effects. Maybe it’s all the IT work from home doing him in rather than the mRNA emergency approval vax. Stopped taking the refular flu shots almost a decade ago due to the side-effects. On a bright note CDC changed their tune on ivermetcin. Apparently it’s not just horse medicine any longer.

          Sorry to hear about the wife’s cancer. Sister-in-law did the chemo treatment for that two years ago. She just got back from a working vaction in Milan. No idea what Q fever is but just a year after Bill Gates released modified mosquitos in FL we see our first cases of malaria in decades. Coincidence or just news, like the now non-existant Zike?

        • Fred says:

          meanwhile in Australia news. Time to destroy all that data collected under ’emergency’ orders. I’m sure no harm was done to the disobedient.

      • Sam says:

        “Nobody cares” – Walrus

        I suppose those attempting to white wash their authoritarianism don’t want anyone to care.

        Apparently this judge did care however.

        In a historic ruling, Judge Doughty held that Plaintiffs–@DrJBhattacharya @MartinKulldorff @akheriaty @HealthFreedomLA –are likely to succeed with their claim that the federal Government’s involvement in social media censorship violated their First Amendment rights 1/ The judge noted that during the Covid pandemic, the Government “seems to have assumed a role similar to an Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth.'” It’s unusual for a court to issue a decision on a federal holiday: I suspect Judge Doughty sought to make a point 2/2


        It is evident from the judicial citations that the authoritarians were concerned that an open debate on their quackery of lockdown and school shutdown shouldn’t happen. Precisely how totalitarians behave. You are correct that “The Science” orthodoxy who promulgated the evidence-free covidian policies don’t want anyone to care.

        • blue peacock says:


          Indeed, the covidians want amnesia among the people to obscure their authoritarianism.

          You are correct that we should be skeptical of those who drank the covidian KoolAid. That was the acid test of those who believed in liberty and were willing to make personal sacrifices vs those who claim “rule of law” and other shibboleths who demonstrated their real fascist nature.

          Look at tennis star Novak Djokovic who didn’t take the vax and was personally vilified & penalized by Australia, US and others. That’s not just talking the talk but walking the walk.

  28. Regarding the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania,
    I thought this might be of interest:

    On Tuesday evening [7/11],
    Zelensky gave a speech at Lukiskes Square in Vilnius –
    just a few kilometers from the summit –
    where he was introduced to huge crowds by Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda.

    Lithuania was the first country to leave the Soviet Union, splitting from the bloc in March 1990.
    Lukiskes Square once featured a huge state of Lenin –and large crowds gathered to celebrate its removal in 1991.
    Many in the country retain a visceral hatred towards Russians
    and they welcomed Zelensky like a rockstar.


    • walrus says:

      I think I understand that NATO just threw Ukraine under the bus – no NATO membership for the foreseeable future.

      It also appears to me that we are back with a WWI tactical and perhaps strategic balance: defence is far more powerful than attack. This favors static warfare.

      Any concentration of force is immediately obvious and traceable by drone and other technologies. Once you have identified and located the concentration then pinpoint weapons and area denial weapons do the rest very, very quickly.

      It is alleged that both sides have lost commanders and troops who gathered for as little as twenty minutes for a speech. The videos of Ukrainian armour and infantry caught in column or even deployed are just depressing – mines.

      As for learning “new” tactics, I think I remember “fun with claymores” and booby trapping forward trenches before departing and we certainly carefully registered our own positions against the day we might be overrun.

  29. I should have added this 21-minute video of Zelenskyy’s speech (with its introduction):


    Do you understand what is being said, TTG?

    • TTG says:

      Keith Harbaugh,

      He knows his audience well. He is speaking not just to Lithuanians, but to all of Europe especially Eastern Europe. He invokes Lithuania’s experience of Bloody Sunday at the Vilnius TV station, Finland’s Winter War, the Baltic deportations and the invasions of Budapest and Prague. He says Ukraine is now fighting so Europe never has to experience those horrors again. He definitely set up the idea of Europe versus the Kremlin as an us versus them struggle with Ukraine as an integral part of Europe. He acknowledges Europe’s support and sacrifices in aiding Ukraine in this endeavor. All this leads to his stating that Ukraine must be part of NATO.

      He also talks at length about the raising of the Ukrainian flag from Bakhmut on Lukiškės Square and how the idea was conceived during President of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda’s recent visit to Kyiv. The flag was carried by marathon relay from Bakhmut to Vilnius.

      • walrus says:

        ……..and the way to prevent a similar event in future is to infect a new generation with hatred of Russians? How does that work?

        Was I supposed to spend my life muttering “never again” and slashing the tires of Mercedes Benz cars? My father’s family lost everything thanks to Hitler.

        • TTG says:


          No one has to hate the Russians or even the current rulers in the Kremlin. Europe just has to maintain a strong enough deterrence to discourage future invasions or, if that fails, a strong enough force to repel those invasions.

          • walrus says:

            “Europe just has to maintain a strong enough deterrent to discourage future invasions, or a strong enough force to repel”.

            Yes, most certainly TTG! However you are only proposing half a solution and limiting your choices based on your comfort zone.

            You have neglected the second half of the security equation. You should have added the following to your security equation; “coupled with strong regional mutual security and cooperation treaties with Russia and the establishment of a joint mutual security force”.

            If you do that – which by the way, Russia has been pleading for for years, then your rearmament and defence expenditures need provide no more than a slightly upgraded police force.

            Russia asked to join NATO.

            Russia asked twice in 2021 for new mutual security treaties.

            Russia asked for the enforcement of Minsk II by the Western powers.

            Russia pleaded with the USA not to revoke the various START treaties.

            We deliberately made our bed that way, we get to wear the consequences. It was all avoidable. Instead we caved in to a bunch of emigre grandchildren with delusions of revenge and grandeur and ignorant Eastern Europeans who don’t have the guts to confront their own unpleasant history.

            As I write this, the Poles and Ukrainians are arguing over the Volhynia massacres – presided over by the grandfathers of the current Asov battalions. Charming.

          • TTG says:


            I think near every country in the former WTO asked to join NATO. I’m not sure how far the Russian request went beyond an informal request by Putin to do so without jumping through all the hoops that every other requester must go through. At the time Russia wasn’t in any better position to join than Ukraine.

            The mutual security treaties wanted by Russia called for renewed Russian influence over her former near abroad and a denial of the East European nations’ security wishes. This is a source of East European insecurity. Russia considers herself one of the mighty nations, along with China and the US, destined to control the world. The countries of Eastern Europe do not matter and even the Western Europeans matter only slightly more than them. This is raw imperialism whether it comes from Moscow or DC.

            The full implementation of Minsk II may have prevented Russia’s current invasion, but I don’t think anyone involved was interested in doing that. France and Germany have come out and said so. Ukraine, the DNR and the LNR certainly weren’t into full implementation. And Russia did nothing to encourage those in Luhansk and Donetsk to cooperate with those in Lviv. Beyond bringing about a ceasefire, it was a lost cause.

            And I thought it was Moscow that suspended the START treaty last February although it was the Trump administration that pulled us out of the Open Skies Treaty in 2020. Biden could have picked it up again but decided not to. Shortsighted moves by both parties.

            Concerning the Volyn massacre, Zelenskiy has fully acknowledged Ukraine’s culpability for this slaughter as did the Polish government. Bandera’s killing of up to 100,000 Poles provoked reprisals from Poles against Ukrainian civilians. At least 2,000 Ukrainians were killed. Just a week ago Zelenskiy and Duda held a joint commemoration ceremony in a Catholic cathedral in western Ukraine.

        • billy roche says:

          What is the expression … I forgive, but I don’t forget.
          Or perhaps some would expect Ukrainians not only to forgive Russian brutality, like the Holodomore, but forget about it. I am sincerely sorry that your family lost so much at the hands of the Nazis. My mother’s Ukrainian family lost much to the Russians. I don’t blame Russians. Some are still my family. But you expect amnesia? Shall Armenians and Cambodians also forget. Perhaps Balts were not treated so badly after all. Maybe Latvians were exaggerating? And maybe I am ignorant of all the cruel things Ukrainians did to the Russians over the past 200 years. Brutality knows no ethnicity.
          So who is for rtng to the days of Imperial brutality? Did I miss the Ukrainians invasion of Russia Feb 24th 2022? Bad Ukrainians; trying to reimpose Ukrainian hegemony over all of Eastern Europe.
          Forgive yes, forget no.

          • walrus says:

            Thank you both for your replies. No we can’t expect amnesia – on all sides, including the russians.

            What saddens me is that all parties are giving in to the same fears and prejudices that caused WWI and II. This time aided and abetted by Washington instead of Berlin.

            As for the Baltics, they are stuck with their geography. However consider the Monroe doctrine. Why is Russia forbidden from having her own version?

            The war will drag on. Russia, China and the rest of the world are going to bypass the western block.

          • blue peacock says:

            “Russia, China and the rest of the world are going to bypass the western block.”- walrus

            In which century?

  30. Three recent developments:

    1) promised future admittance of Ukraine to NATO
    (Russian figures have long made clear that this is a bright red line for them. You can argue all you like whether it should be, but ultimately what counts is what they think, and act on.)

    2) F-16s to Ukraine

    3) France and the UK supplying long range cruise missiles to Ukraine https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/france-send-long-range-missiles-ukraine-macron-2023-07-11/

    It looks to me like various parts of NATO are begging for World War III.
    You can argue that it hasn’t happened yet,
    but that is like arguing that
    if I haven’t fallen through the ice yet,
    that I can skate as close as Iike to that hole in the ice.
    There is a concept known as risk management.
    Time to apply that here.
    Time to lessen the risk.

  31. Correction and addition:

    That should have been
    “Time to stop increasing the risk.”

    If you note, correctly, that starting WWIII would be an act of folly,
    you should also note the title of Barbara Tuchman’s book The March of Folly.

  32. 1. A really sad situation:

    there are age-old simmering grudges held by each European state
    against a first-door European neighbor

    That was written by an ethnic Croatian who has spent considerable time in the United States, Tomislav Sunic.

    Sunic goes on to observe:

    The historical record of each people in Europe during its process of nation-state building
    often gets clouded by quasi mythical historiographic accounts in which
    each state depicts itself as a perpetual victim of its villainous neighbor.

    Simmering interethnic hatred won’t go away in Europe anytime soon
    despite all the EU talk about a “common European homeland.”

    A neocon apparatchik sitting in a State Department office knows full well that it won’t take a great deal of effort
    to tap into the pool of historical anti-Russian sentiments among Eastern Europeans….
    A significant number of US-Jewish decision makers also have their own beef with Russia,
    given that their own family tree can be traced to Russian shtetels from which their grandparents were evicted by Tsar Alexander III
    [I presume this provided the historical background for Fiddler on the Roof],
    and where fierce fighting between the Ukrainian and Russian troops is now taking place.

    The list of nationalist grievances, coupled with exorbitant victimhood stories
    knows no end among Eastern Europeans.

    A modern Polish nationalist is in full agreement with his German nationalist counterpart
    about having non-European migrants kicked out or banning transgender NGOs from Europe.
    However, when the German nationalist begins commiserating about the fate of the ancient German city of Danzig —
    now renamed into Polish Gdansk —
    let alone dares to propose to his Polish colleague Germany’s tentative recuperation of large swaths of western Poland where millions of Germans once lived,
    all hell breaks loose.

    As I said, this seems to me to be a really sad state of affairs.

    2. The question is, what can, or should, the U.S. do about it?
    One possible course of conduct was stated by U.S. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams two centuries ago, in 1821 (here “She” of course stands for the United States):

    She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others,
    even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart.

    She has seen that probably for centuries to come,
    all the contests of that Aceldama the European world,
    will be contests of inveterate power, and emerging right.

    But she goes not abroad,
    in search of monsters to destroy.

    She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.

    She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.


    To all of you who wish to keep fighting Old World battles,
    to keep those old grievances alive,
    under whatever justification,
    I entreat you to heed the words of John Quincy Adams.
    Or at least consider them.

    • Sam says:

      “The philosophy of rationalism has misunderstood the nature of man, the nature of the social world, and the nature of reason itself.” – Hans J. Morgenthau, Scientific Man Versus Power Politics


      This idea that we can all live happily ever after is self-delusion. Warring parties can come to some accommodation temporarily however as Westphalia did. The realities of human nature will always trump good intentions. Utopia cannot exist with current human wiring. One tribe or another will always try to dominate the other. History shows that it is better to be strong than weak.

      Until the US becomes weaker on a relative basis folks will have to suck it up to US capricious behavior or resist and pay a price. Xi is making a gambit to weaken US power in the South China seas. We’ll see if he acts militarily in the region. Putin is attempted to do that with his Ukrainian invasion which ain’t going too well for him. Even after a year of combat he’s no further along with his aspirational goals.

    • For those who like music, there is a dramatic bass aria,
      “Revenge, revenge Timotheus cries”:


      For the complete text, see

      The Saxon Georg Friedrich Händel wrote this in 1736,
      nearly a century before John Quincy Adams 1821 speech.

  33. walrus says:

    Well said Keith.

    I was deliberately insulated and isolated from the holocaust and its destruction of our family by my parents. It was as if our family had just appeared out of no where.

    Dad arrived by boat during the war and joined the Australia Army. He met Mom in Tokyo where she worked for the American war crimes bureau(?) and he was. working as a war crimes investigator. They came to Australia after the war and I came along.

    I thought it was strange that unlike the other kids at the prestigious school I was sent to, I didn’t have scores of Aunts and Uncles and cousins to engage with us. We were a nuclear family, sprung out of nowhere, with no history.

    A little bit came out; my american aunts, uncles and cousins existed and my Grandma and Grandpa but they were far away. Of the German side of the family…..nothing. Of Dads war crimes investigations …….nothing. Occasionally strange very old wrinkled people would stop by and Dad would talk with them in german about what? ….nothing. We gave to Israel….why?

    I was 60 before I learned some of the truth. Mom didn’t tell me about the horrendous war crimes he investigated until after he died. Dad didn’t bring the terrible tales of the holocaust with him when he arrived. He left that behind. I am still discovering things about our family.

    I have also seen, and this is why I post on this topic, the bitter corrosive effect of not letting go of the past. I have seen the drunks who will regale you with tales of how important their family was in the old country, until the Russians/germans/poles/lithuanians/hungarians/serbs/ take your pick, murdered or dispossessed them. It’s time to move on. We have no business stirring up ethnic hatred’s.

  34. Sam says:

    China is preparing for war.

    Everyone should watch @Jkylebass’ presentation at the @HudsonInstitute, where he connects the dots—between the military, policy, infrastructure, & markets—that point in one direction:

    #China is mobilizing for war with 🇺🇸

    Key highlights & takeaways👇


    Millions of Jews were murdered on Hitler’s orders. In the recent decades the Israelis have used their relative strength to corral Palestinians in bantustans and act with force at will.

    If Xi orders the use of military force in the South China Seas, how many would argue that it is because of US provocation? How many will argue that we should allow Xi to act with impunity? How many will argue that the fate of Taiwan or Philippines is none of our business? Would Xi be even more emboldened by US inaction as some argue that Obama’s inaction when Putin annexed Crimea paved the way to the invasion of Ukraine.

    When should the US use military force and when should it support others militarily? Should the US continue to invest to maintain relative strength globally? Would the American Revolution have been successful without the aid of the French?

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